Optimal timing of first reproduction in parasitic nematodes

A. W. Gemmill, A. Skorping, A. F. Read

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

55 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The time between infection and the onset of reproduction (maturation time) is a key determinant of body size, fecundity and generation time in parasitic nematodes. An optimality model for maturation time is developed centred on prematurational growth, the duration of which has opposing consequences for fecundity and for survival to reproductive age. The maturation time favoured by natural selection is found to be inversely proportional to prematurational mortality rate. The product of maturation time and mortality rate is predicted to be an invariant number equal to the allometric slope linking daily fecundity to maturation time. Predictions are tested using comparative data on mammalian gastrointestinal nematode taxa. Half the cross-species variation in prepatent period (the time from infection until propagules are shed from the host) is accounted for by this adaptive trade-off hypothesis, even though many biological details are not explicitly modelled. These results are discussed in the light of previous studies and in the context of general models of life history evolution.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1148-1156
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Evolutionary Biology
Volume12
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1 1999

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animal parasitic nematodes
nematode
fecundity
maturation
prepatent period
gastrointestinal nematodes
infection
natural selection
body size
life history
duration
prediction
mortality
generation time
trade-off

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics

Cite this

Gemmill, A. W. ; Skorping, A. ; Read, A. F. / Optimal timing of first reproduction in parasitic nematodes. In: Journal of Evolutionary Biology. 1999 ; Vol. 12, No. 6. pp. 1148-1156.
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Optimal timing of first reproduction in parasitic nematodes. / Gemmill, A. W.; Skorping, A.; Read, A. F.

In: Journal of Evolutionary Biology, Vol. 12, No. 6, 01.11.1999, p. 1148-1156.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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AU - Gemmill, A. W.

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AU - Read, A. F.

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